Jordan Eberle
(AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar)

The New York Islanders soundly beat the Pittsburgh Penguins to open a 3-0 series lead and push the Pens to the brink of elimination.

Matt Di Giacomo

If there was anyone left doubting the New York Islanders, they should be thoroughly convinced otherwise.

Over the last three games, Barry Trotz and his squad have surgically picked the Penguins apart.

The Islanders are outscoring the Penguins 11-5, and coming into Sunday were ranked fifth-overall in goals-for. Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle, Anders Lee, and Brock Nelson all have stepped their intensity up to form a dangerous playoff squad.

So much of the Islanders success in the postseason comes from the genius matching by Trotz. Using the Casey Cizikas line to shut down three of the most dominant scorers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs has worked to perfection.

The best way to capture how much of a choke-hold the Islanders have around the Penguins is in the scoresheet thus far.

Leo Komarov and Valtteri Filppula are currently outscoring all of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jake Guentzel so far.

Komarov’s goal on Sunday was his first since Jan. 20.

If there was anyone doubting the Islanders’ shutdown defense (which won them the William Jennings trophy in the regular season), the Islanders have held the Penguins to a single goal in each of the last two games.

Robin Lehner entered Game 3 in the top two for overall save percentage, and has allowed the fourth-fewest goals heading into the afternoon.

New York Islanders

Anything that can be going well for the Islanders simply is, and now there’s an opportunity for them to sweep the winners of two of the last three Stanley Cups.

The Islanders have successfully controlled play both with and without the puck throughout the series. When both teams take the ice for Game 4, all the Islanders have to do is stick to the game plan and continue to execute as they have been.

The Islanders ability to put this series away quickly not only prevents any push from Pittsburgh, but also could allow them for rest for a potential second round match-up.


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